Xu is a fourth-year doctoral student specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology. She researches technology and literacy education, digital literacy assessment, and educational equity. Xu is advised by Professor Mark Warschauer. Her Grad Slam Finals topic is Science Television Shows That Can Talk to Kids.
GRAD Slam is a University of California systemwide competition that showcases and awards the best three-minute research presentations by graduate scholars. Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate. Winners can received prizes up to $9,000 in value. Woo and Xu are two of the 10 finalists qualifying for UCI's 2020 final competition.
Woo Competition Summary: Emotions are neurobiologically embedded in how we learn, play, work, and love. It is our compass that guides and motivates us in pursuing the relationships and goals that we care deeply about. Empirical studies have found social and emotional learning skills effective in improving student's academic success, school adjustment, social relations, and persistence in K-20. With grant funding from UC Office of the President for Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, I am developing evidence-based and culturally-responsive programs that are practical and scalable for improving students emotional agility and persistence in school and in life.
Xu Competition Summary: Children's television programming reaches massive audiences. Yet its educational benefits are limited by a defining feature of TV it is a one-way broadcast medium. To overcome this limitation, my project incorporates conversational agents (similar to Alexa or Siri) into children's science-oriented television programs so that children can have direct interactions with the on-screen character, thus providing another means of relevant conversation. I am developing conversational videos as a supplementary part of Elinor Wonders Why, a new PBS KIDS animated television program created by UCI Physics professor Daniel Whiteson and cartoonist Jorge Cham. The conversational videos allow children to directly speak with Elinor as she solves everyday science mysteries, thus priming children to engage in observation, prediction, pattern identification, and problem solving through scaffolded conversation. The agent also offers contingent feedback that varies based on children's responses. We tested these conversational videos among preschool children and found that such videos increased children's engagement and learning outcomes.